Cystic echinococcosis is an important public health problem in our region. The aim of this study was to assess the surgical incidence of cystic echinococcosis in Sivas, Turkey. A retrospective follow-up study was carried out between 1997 and 2004. The mean age of 124 men (39.2%) and 192 women was 36.4 years. The liver was the primary site of cyst development (76.6%), followed by the lungs (19.9%), the spleen (5.4%), the kidneys (3.5%) and the peritoneal cavity (3.2%). Mean annual surgical incidence was 6.4 per 100 000 inhabitants for a 7-year period. The most common site of recurrence was the liver. Hepatic cysts were more frequently infected than pulmonary cysts (P < 0.05). In those patients with an infected cyst, the mean circulating eosinophil level was significantly lower than in those without. Rupture and infection were more common in men (P < 0.01). In conclusion, serious structural, legislative, surveillance, prevention and control measures for echinooccus should be undertaken in our region.